Preparations for the announcement of the Budget, on March 20th, are now going full-speed ahead - but the coalition government is on the defensive.
Nick Clegg and the Lib-Dems have embarked on a face-saving exercise, in the hope that their supporters will forget how they swallowed all their election promises in return for a few portfolios.
As to the Tories, they are getting one bloody nose after another. First came Osborne's humiliation when his credit rating was downgraded last month. Then, the party was pushed into 3rd position by UKIP in the Eastleigh by-election. Finally, last week, it was Cameron's turn to be rebuffed, by his pet, "independent" Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). In reply to his latest triumphant speech, on how much better off the economy was, thanks to his austerity policy, the head of the OBR showed, for once, some "independence" by contradicting Cameron: declaring that, in fact, contrary to his boasting, the coalition's austerity had contributed to the shrinkage of the British economy.
Tory rats trying to salvage their ship
Now, especially since UKIP stole such a big chunk of their votes in Eastleigh, Tory backbenchers are busy out-UKIPing UKIP. Indeed, they now know that any by-election in a Tory seat may pave the way for a defeat, with UKIP pushing the Tories into third place again, or in any case, splitting the right-wing vote -a terrifying foretaste, for them, of what may be in store come the next General Election!
However, these backbenchers' frantic activity - desperately seeking to save their seats and perks conceals a deeper struggle at the top of the Tory party. Cameron's rivals feel the time may have come for them to make their moves and they're scrambling to bid for the leadership - including, among them, cabinet ministers like Theresa May and Michael Gove. And, in their bid for power, all these potential contenders are whipping up backbench hysteria as a stick against Cameron and Osborne and a winning charter against UKIP.
So, anything goes. Hence the current hysterical campaign against the EU which, once again, is blamed for everything and the kitchen sink - from the recession in Britain to the collapse of public services. As if those responsible for the banking crisis were not called RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC - which, despite being bailed out on public funds, are still sucking billions out of the economy! And as if public services were not being bled dry by the very austerity policy that the same hysterical voices want to be stepped up and combined with spectacular tax cuts -for the better-offs and, above all, the wealthiest.
An injury to one is an injury to all!
And then there is the stench of xenophobic demagogy, which comes from all sides of the political spectrum.
From her ministry's office, Theresa May exceeds her powers by ordering the summary deportation of migrant workers whose only crime is to be making a precarious living.
As to Ian Duncan-Smith, he warns of the imminent collapse of the welfare system due to what he calls "foreign benefit scroungers" - especially those from Romania, Bulgaria and (of all countries!) Brazil.
Never mind that his own ministry's statistics show that only a tiny proportion of migrant workers get any benefit -and predictably so, because very few are entitled, anyway! Whereas what is driving welfare down the drain -or rather, the poorest into utter poverty -is the drastic series of benefit cuts imposed by the coalition, the rock-bottom wages paid by bosses and the sky-rocketing rents charged by the Tories' landlord friends.
But no-one should ever forget that the first party to set this trend was Labour, when, through the mouth of David Blunkett, it blamed the impact of Blair's education cuts on migrant workers! Today, Milliband is just going down the same road, helping the coalition to blame the impact of its austerity policy on migrant workers!
For us, workers, however, there is - and can be only one working class -migrant or not - against the same exploiters. The only scroungers in this country are our exploiters, best exemplified by the latest "Forbes rich list", in which Britain's 37 billionaires in dollars share a total of £81 billion between them - equivalent to the entire Education budget allocated to tens of millions of children and youth! Yes, the only scroungers are these capitalist parasites who bleed our labour, savage our jobs and attack our standard of living. And it is in the interest of us all, workers of all origins, to stand up to them and their politicians, and challenge their rule over society!